The debut of Windows 10 May 2019 Update marks not only the launch of the new feature update for Windows 10, but also the introduction of the more advanced rollout system that’s supposed to prevent issues and finally provide users with seamless updates.
Phased rollouts of Windows 10 feature updates aren’t entirely new, and Microsoft continues to be by using this method for several releases already.
The idea is as simple as it may be, albeit it’s with different system that’s more complex than it seems at first.
Basically, what Microsoft does is release a Windows 10 feature update to some small group of devices. The organization then analyzes feedback received from these devices to find out if the experience with the feature update is flawless or not. At this time, there’s two methods to go.
If Microsoft receives evidence that the update experiences issues on a specific configuration, the company then starts investigating to eventually set upgrading block with that specific configuration. For instance, if there’s a particular driver that triggers the update to crash after installation, Microsoft can block the feature update from on offer to devices running that driver.
On the other hand, if the company isn’t conscious of any problem on the devices where it shipped the feature update, it can move forward with the rollout, making it available to more devices. This is the point where Microsoft begins evaluating the performance of the update around the new systems to ensure no problems are encountered.
In other words, in the event you haven’t received the update at this time, it’s because it hasn’t been validated for the configuration, so waiting is pretty much the only option if you’re waiting for the Windows Update release.
The May 2019 Update expands this release model with new label criteria, meaning Microsoft’s automated systems are now able to detect a wider selection of problems, including those associated with display or audio.
And because the rollout is dependant on machine learning (ML), Microsoft has trained its systems to help predict issues before they really happen.
“We have implemented an ensemble approach that allows the model to predict the person label criteria (e.g., rollback, operating system crash, application issues, etc.) associated with the update experience along with the full collection of criteria to improve our ability to accurately predict and troubleshoot issues,” Microsoft explains.
Detecting a potential bug during the phased rollout, however, isn’t just an automated process, but additionally involves feedback from users.
Once a user submits feedback to the company, it’s put into a queue after which enters the triage process. Microsoft says it receives some 20,000 bits of feedback every single day, therefore it improved its systems to alert of high-severity issues and issues that turn into widespread.
But at the same time, the machine has also been improved to highlight high-severity bugs that aren’t necessarily reported with a big quantity of users. This way, the organization wants to prevent blunders such as the one at the end of 2018 when the October 2018 Update shipped with a data removal bug hitting only a small subset of devices.
When the feedback is prioritized and the high-severity issues are flagged, engineers can start their investigation and see whether an upgrade block is necessary for several devices. The phased rollout thus allows Microsoft to prevent these high-severity glitches from hitting more computers.
The first stage of the phased rollout comes down to shipping feature updates to devices whose reliability has already been tested with the aid of what Microsoft calls ecosystem partners, like OEMs and independent software vendors (ISVs).
These partners deploy feature updates internally for further testing, while Microsoft can collect more feedback as part of the Windows Insider program.
This means the organization gradually boosts the quantity of devices obtaining a feature update, however the rollout starts slowly on internal systems allowing for closer investigation should any difficulty be detected.
Meanwhile, Microsoft also enables users to download feature updates by skipping the automatic rollout on Windows Update. Media Creation Tool allows for manual downloads of feature update, albeit this can be a method aimed mostly at power users.